The Paradox of Giving
by Umm Hana
The Paradox of Giving
The High Return Investment Strategy
The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain; it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower (2:261)
Charity in Islam
Spending in the way of Allah Almighty is a lucrative investment. It is an opportunity to gain guaranteed profit in incredible multiples. Just as investors seek out high yields and safe investments, we are offered the ultimate return if we can follow Allah Almighty’s simple step by step guide to becoming a savvy investor.
What’s the catch?
If we have been offered such a huge reward, what could possibly get in the way? Simply put: it is not as easy as it seems to spend in the way of Allah Almighty. It is counterintuitive to reduce the very thing you wish to increase. The paradox is that spending increases our return. The more we spend, the more we earn.
The twinge of separation
Spending is close to our hearts. We experience the highs and lows of wealth throughout our lives and spend a substantial proportion of our time and effort on seeking more wealth or spending what we have.
We feel that the money we have is rightfully ours, gained exclusively through our efforts and the urge to hold on to it makes us cling fast to it. Spending is not as easy as it might seem.
The spending test
Wealth, however, is a test and how we spend it determines if we pass or fail. This ayah and the analogy of the ear of wheat is an incentive to spend while we have the chance. Allah Almighty is offering us the chance to earn rizq in this life, as well as reward in the hereafter, through wise spending.
Only when we truly believe that spending is linked to earning reward will we be able to spend without the niggling fear or worry that we are making a loss. Once we have complete trust in Allah Almighty and spend with the assurance that every single penny has been accounted for and even multiplied can we free ourselves of the psychological barriers that come in the way of our giving.
Realising we are enriched
Giving enriches us. Each time we give (with the right intention) to someone we are giving Allah Almighty a beautiful loan. And our real wealth is growing in an invisible bank account. The reality of that account will only become apparent when this life ends. And there are so many studies now which show the benefits of giving to our sense of well being.
Spending correctly is ibadah
Spending becomes an act of worship. As such, it should always be preceded by a clear and sincere intention.
Spending improves our character
Spending in obedience to Allah Almighty’s command takes away this deep-rooted materialism.
Charity is central to Islam. For Muslims, giving is an integral part of life. We begin giving from the moment a child is born and continue until that person dies. Whenever something good happens in our life, we thank Allah Almighty by sharing the blessings he gave us with others.
We are commanded repeatedly to give in charity. It is not enough to believe.
‘And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you’. [24:3] He also says, ‘Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees’. [57:7]
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